collapse

I stand on the crowded floor of the top storey of a tall office building. My body is heavy. My nerves sting. My mind gasps for air, flailing in a dark ocean surging through from some place beyond.

The floors and walls shake and crack. The empty space between us crunches and heaves. Bodies, desks, chairs and machines are flung across the office. I look fearfully out, beyond the sprawling metropolis, toward the distant fields and mountains. The land is unexpectedly still, rippling only gently as the storm mounts.

The office management, heavyset men with thick brows and swollen, clenched fists, are unmoved. No air swirls in their lungs, nor blood in their hearts. Their voices, low and disdainful, boom forth. “Return to your work, you damned fools. Pay no heed to your childish hallucinations.”

Most of the staff fall into line, though their desks and chairs remain scattered and the storm tugs no less forcefully at their bodies. Some join in the management’s refrain, shaming the disloyalty of those who resist compliance. But some are unable to acquiesce to this suicide pact. Our hearts are too sensitive to yield to such blunt coercion. Our fear is our strength. It commandeers our bodies, drawing us toward escape, however fraught.

The contractions come stronger and faster now. A large inflatable dinghy appears in the middle of the floor, a small group of sensitive souls already aboard, beckoning to me. I sense a violent battle for survival ahead. As the remainers hurl their righteous indignation, I climb aboard. I feel the warmth and fleshiness of my fellow passengers’ bodies against mine. I feel our shared terror and our shared conviction. Enmeshed in the womb of a new paradigm, deaf and blind to the demands of the old, we begin our journey.

The floor gives way and our boat free falls along an expansive lift shaft some twenty metres across. The space is dark, dotted with specks of starlight, and I can barely make out a steel supporting structure. Whilst my fellow passengers panic, I experience a subtle breath of calm, an almost smiling fascination with the intensity of our predicament.

We are now outside and on the run. I move through the city with two women from the boat. I feel lost. It slowly dawns that this is not Melbourne, as I had assumed, but rather a city in Tasmania. One of the women takes the lead and is determined to make for an airport. I follow, though I know this will be futile. At best we might hope to come across a local airfield and make our own way back to the mainland in a stolen light aircraft.

What little hope of a retreat to some familiar sense of safety, to a place or a community or a state of awareness fortified against the storm, ebbs away as I attune to the depth of sensation tearing through my heart and the Earth below. My friends and I are now fugitives on the run not from one discernible enemy, not from beast or weapon or disease or fire, not even from our own inner demons, but from the unraveling totality of an untenable world. This is the Collapse. A long-simmering reckoning has finally breached the walls of this world’s flimsy dams. The elemental fabric of a world drowning in the echo of booming voices is dissolving into dust. Seized with terror, the deep animals of our souls drive our bodies blindly into a vast unknown, to some place either so novel as to be unimaginable or so ancient as to have long since disappeared from the collective memory – if not death itself, then some place indistinguishable from death when seen from the darkened road toward it.

As my friends run ahead toward a descending subway escalator I find myself all of a sudden swept some ten metres into the air. I am especially self-conscious of this spontaneous flight, concerned that the women expect me to follow them. Reaching the escalator, they turn back to find me floating above. They fall to their knees, awestruck, almost horrified with astonishment. I am taken aback. In hundreds of dream flight experiences I cannot recall an occasion when entities within the dream were aware of my flight. This feels like the first time the wonder of my flight experience has been witnessed by anyone but myself. A brief rush of wholeness sweeps like a breath of wind through my body.

I descend and rejoin the women. We enter a cavernous underground tunnel and proceed across a steel mesh walkway. I notice a dozen or so naked bodies around the base of the tunnel. They are suspended in unusual postures, some slumped against walls, others over railings, some mounted one atop the other. Their skin is pale and flabby. They are not dead, but their behaviour appears numb and mindless. More bodies appear, floating face down in still water in an intersecting tunnel ahead. We turn back to find more emerging into view in swarms, pursuing us like zombies. The scene is ghastly. It feels as if these souls have become incorporated into the body of some satanic overlord and now act as limbs under its control in a depraved game of torture and terror.

Outside, the Collapse steadily deepens. The ground beneath us swells and belches like an ocean. Buildings crumble. Terror-stricken individuals scatter in all directions, screaming like animals, lashing out at one another. The people, the buildings, the Earth, the air, the very laws of physics and consciousness and community – Everything – is in the throes of death.

An unusual phenomenon is arising from the ashes of the old world. The Collapse is catalysing special powers, many of them violent, in certain individuals. A heavyset woman up ahead, her behaviour aggressive, violent, and psychotic, has developed the power to fire tree branches from her arms with a flick of the wrist. As she practices her new-found skill on helpless victims, her lips curl upward in sadistic pleasure. As we move through the city, more such individuals emerge, each with their own violent power.

At this moment, hyper-conscious to threats from all directions, from within and without, a confronting and humbling awareness suffuses my blood. The unfolding terror, the unrelenting bombardment of my innermost terrains – this is nothing new. This, now, is the experience of the asylum seeker. The family pelted by bombs. The abused and starving child. The woman raped and enslaved. The elder pleading through merciless pain for a dignified passing. The animal penned, violated and murdered under the guise of biological need and cultural sophistication. The soldier hurling their life to the grave in an unknown land. The Stolen Generations and all their brutalised indigenous counterparts throughout the world. What I am watching and experiencing, this shredding of all sense of place and self and belonging, of birthright, has been the felt truth of experience of individuals and communities stretching far into history. This, now, this impossibility, this lethal danger from all quarters – this end of time, end of matter, end of community, end of self – this sheer obliteration of the vast, hitherto unrecognised ground of experience itself – This, is the long-marginalised truth of those systematically terrorised, controlled and extinguished. Today, the coalescence of all their trauma within mind-at-large has finally triggered this unstoppable moment of brutal deliverance.

I scan my environment. I need a space. Something is stirring. The Collapse has unlocked an inner doorway to my own special power, a power woven into my spirit from my very beginnings. Flight.

I come by a clearing shielded from immediate danger. Here, in the shadows of concrete walls yet to fall, I begin my practice. While dream flight was once a spontaneous action, now a special technique must be cultivated. I stretch my hands in front of me, wrists against my chest. Between them sparks into life a delicate, vibrating energetic filament, iridescent like oil. Subtle gyrations of my hands give rise to rhythmic fluctuations in this force. This moment has been too long coming, and despite the overwhelming focus required I know I must integrate my birthright here and now. This power is sacred and potent. The violence will perish with the worlds it killed. From here, if possible at all, it is the students of the sacred gifts who might stir new worlds into life.

And then, up I go. My whole life force is in my hands, and as unstable as things feel, I am up. For now that is all I know. Where this leads I cannot say. Below, the world continues to crumble, silently now, under darkening skies.

There appears below me a dark figure standing some five metres tall, her disfigured face concealed under her black cloak. A witch, or a banshee? She scampers about, clutching at the air, intent on upsetting my work. But I remain aloft, beyond her reach, and she soon fades.

Finally, returning to solid Earth, I notice a couch in the clearing. A young woman is trapped inside, sewn tightly under the leather cover. Her flesh is enmeshed with the fabric, like roots with soil, the border between captor and captive almost indiscernible. I struggle to release her, tugging at the fabric. I ask her questions: Do you know how you got this way? Where are your arms? Do you have a complete body? Though she is stiff with fear, I sense she is conscious of my benevolent intent. She responds with barely perceptible gestures and breathless single-word utterances, her eyes wide open, staring blankly past me.

26 May 2019